I’ve been helping out a lot with the kid’s homework lately. Apparently my status is being called into question because I made up some fictional math terminology. They also think I invented a country.
I’m getting increasingly more annoyed with waiting in lines. I’ve just lost my patience over the years. When people don’t have their shit together or are on their phone it drives me nuts. Or when people are in the express lane but they have more than 15 items, and half those items are obscure produce that need price checks, that shit will give me an ulcer.
I’ve watched myself grow more impatient over the years and its almost getting to the point where I say something. Just yesterday I sat forever behind two people who apparently had never been to a Jamba Juice and asked questions about every possible thing: “Well what’s the difference between Whey Protein and Soy Protein? Well which would you recommend?”
They then proceeded to change their order, twice, and finally whipped out a coin purse and struggled for exact change. I audibly grumbled, which thankfully they didn’t hear, but I’m really close to being that guy that says something. It’s embarrassing.
The Girl on the Train
If somebody with Athletes Foot walks around a hot tub, and then a person in the hot tub rests his neck on that spot, would he get Athletes Foot on his neck? And if so can we please call that Neckletes Foot!?
The book I’m currently reading is all about British history. I’m particularly impressed with the names of English towns. These people are fantastic at naming things! I mean I started out in the town of Little Dribbling and ended up in Great Snoring, by way of Pucklechurch.
And from there the names just keep getting better. Towns include: Upton Snodsbury, Mudford Sock, Bitchfield, Cockermouth, Barton in the Beans and my favorite: Nether Wallop. Shit! I forgot my other favorite: Bishop’s Itchington. I’m not making these up, go look for yourselves. And that last one correctly has an apostrophe, so that means at some point the Bishop had an Itchington. That sounds like something I would say late at night to the kid. (On a side I want to point out that these names can all function fantastically as fake dog breeds that I use in the dog park.)
In addition nothing in Great Britain is ever just Notting, its Nottingham, or better yet Nottinghamshire. I’m getting quite a chuckle out of it. I think I would have been great back in the 16th century helping name these villages and squares. I would have been the one in the back of the town council meeting trying to add a few extra suffixes to everything.
The president of the board would announce: “Currently up for voting is the name of East Ruther.”
And people would mumble “Oh, yes, East Ruther is a fine name.”
I would then subtly cough out “East RutherFORD.”
The council members would then mumble “Ah yes, East Rutherford is a more strapping name, harrumph, harrumph.”
I’d then slyly change sides of the aisle and call out “East RutherfordSHIRE!”
“Oh smashingly good sir! East Rutherfordshire it shall be!”
And then, like at an auction, I would keep raising my racket and bidding it up.
“I say East RutherforshireHELM!”
“Mumbles of approvement from the crowd.
“Maybe even East RutherfordshirehelmFORTH!” to a smattering of claps from the crowd.
”I say, moving notion chap! Harrumph!”
And then the dagger, I’d stand up and proclaim:
“East Rutherfordshirehelmforth THE FIFTH!!!”
And the place would go nuts!
“All for East Rutherfordshirehelmforth The Fifth say “I”!”
Of course I have taken to instituting this English way of naming things into my daily life. My wife (Mrs. RollingHerEyesbrooke) hasn’t laughed yet, but I think the dog has taken a liking to his new nickname: Leonardfordshirehelmforth the 5th Duke of Uploading. And like the American I am, I have whittled that down to simply Lenny, which after a few days has felt oddly familiar.
Near my sister’s house there is a large utility box that somebody has scrawled a message on. The lettering is notably unique as they used masking tape to outline the letters, and let it sit there for months, or years. Then the masking tape was removed, or withered away with the weather, and it left an imprint that reads: “Leave Nerd!”
It’s my favorite piece of graffiti, ever.
The first year I had my dog he ate (or drank) an entire bottle of vegetable oil. God I love that dog.
Hell or High Water
I was in good seats on the first base side of Wrigley Field on a normal sunny humid day in Chicago. I was probably 10 years old or so watching my hero’s in their pinstripes on the ballfield and I remember seeing for the first time the bald spot on the back of one of my idol’s heads. It was after a play where he was thrown out at second base. His helmet got knocked off in the play and he waited there patiently while his teammates brought him his hat and glove. And there it was, I couldn’t beIieve it. My childhood hero was just a mere mortal man. And a man who suffered from male pattern baldness.
It was later in life that I realized we all have that bald spot in our lives, it’s just a little more glaring when you’re in the spotlight.
This movie was great, go see it.
Swiss Army Man
Dear Wes Borland, I am making Swiss Army Man my Movie of the Year. I have been telling everybody to watch it but nobody has. I think they are missing out. I am so glad that there are artists out there making wonderfully bizarre films like this. I loved it, I think you should watch it.
La La Land
Has anybody noticed that Trader Joe’s hires the friendliest people!? Every time I need help they are so accommodating. Sometimes I don’t even need help, I just want to meet a new friend.
The employees always have the best attitude. When you ask: “hey where are the granola bars?” The person stops what they’re doing and is like “Let’s me and you have have a little adventure together and go find the granola bars!” I love it, I wish every store had employees like this.
The wife and I saw this movie in the theater, I didn’t think it lived up to all the hype.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century.
We get fair amount of song requests and some of them are great, some funny, some stupid. Makes me think of Bruce Springsteen, who plays a bunch of requests at every show. People bring handmade signs and hold them up and then he just calls it. It’s impressive and I respect it.
Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, that reminds of the greatest group of softball mercenaries ever to walk the earth: The Bruce Springsteens. This story has its roots in a long ago tour I was on with some other musicians. We had the day off and were having beers at a downtown bar in Milwaukee. The bar had a bunch of old sports photos, some of minor league teams, some of the bar’s softball team, and we were struck by the wide and wonderful array of strange mascot names for these teams: The Toledo Mud Hens, The Hartford Yard Goats, The Montgomery Biscuits.
So the 3 of us asked each other: if we were to start a team of some sort, what we would call ourselves? There were a few funny ideas and a few bad ones, and then we stumbled on the gem of the day: The Bruce Springsteens.
We laughed about this and it became a conversational touchstone for months to come.Then the summer came and a rival group of friends challenged us to a game of Sloshball in San Francisco. Naturally we accepted that challenge and like the competitive bastards we are, we decided to make uniforms, with numbers, and of course we named ourselves The Bruce Springsteens.
We kicked the shit out them. We then went on and kicked the shit out of another team in the neighborhood. Our heads began to get bigger and we decided to enter into a co-ed softball league. We won it. We were the kings of the under-world of San Francisco pick up sports.
It was then that we decided to put ourselves out for hire. Anybody who wanted to kick the shit out of somebody else in team sports could hire us. Thus was born the greatest group of sports mercenaries in the Bay Area: The Bruce Springsteens.
We’re still available for the record. We’ve lost some spring in our step, some of us put on some weight, a few knees have been blown out, but we still got it.
“Writing songs is like trying to catch a bird. Sometimes you just end up with a handful of feathers. And sometimes you go out for a drink and wake up in Singapore with a full beard.”
Don’t paint with the broad and clumsy brush of generalization. The way you think the world is is not the way everybody else thinks the world is.
There are people who argue to get it right, and there are people who argue to be right. I’d like to think I’m the former, and if you ever want to discuss things, lets try to get it right.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
My dad taught me how to build potato guns. Growing up we made countless potato guns, some big, some small, some that used hair spray, some that used pure oxygen, some that used a firing mechanism, others that operated only on a match thrown in a hole. We made potato guns for uncles and cousins and gave them out at Christmas.
It was great thing to be a part of. For those of you who have built and fired your own potato gun you know what I speak of. We would shoot potatoes out over the lake, we would shoot potatoes through the field goal posts at the high school football field. We would go out to the dump and shoot as far as we could. Sometimes the potatoes themselves would catch on fire and you were treated to a beautiful spectacle of a flaming potato hurtling through space.
I think the farthest we ever shot one was over the lake where I would guess it went went a few football fields in length, a glorious shot. There were plenty of duds to go along with it, the most spectacular dud coming on Christmas day when we gave my Uncle John a shiny brand new potato gun and we all excitedly went to the deck off the back of the house, loaded it up and…..thump. A limp potato jumped about 3 feet out of the barrel and plopped down near our feet.
That same Uncle was also the one who got knocked over from a potato gun recoil. It was out on a frozen lake in northern Wisconsin and after the shot I looked back and there he was, all sprawled out in the snow. It was a glorious shot if you were wondering, which made it worth it.
Fast forward to my college years in Santa Cruz where my friends and I continued the tradition. One night we were shooting potatoes in the backyard when our housemate Jessica came out and in a drunken swagger said “give me that thing, I’ll show you how to shoot it.” She took the potato gun and basically hip shot it, hit the bullseye dead center and knocked over the target altogether, `mic-dropped’ the potato gun and was out. It was awesome.
Microbe and Gasoline
I have an itchy scalp. I can’t stand it
One of the many problems with social media is this Outrage Blender that everybody gets thrown into. Why is everybody SO upset about everything!? Why is it that you CAN’T BELIEVE something happened? Is it because you are detached from the actual thing and are writing about it in some ethereal cyber space that makes you that much more outraged? Is there some existential emotional balance that is disturbed by us living so much through social media? Why can’t we just calmly disagree? Why is everybody so worked up? I don’t get it.
And speaking of outrage…why in the world didn’t they have more Darth Vader in this movie!? I mean who was there making this movie and saying, “yah, let’s keep this awesome character to the absolute minimum screen time.”
I remember when my friends and I were growing up we would play all sorts of stupid pranks on each other. One of my favorites was when 3 of us dudes were driving in a one-bench pickup truck, the kind where all three of you sat right next to each other in a row. If we saw a girl or somebody down the road, the person sitting in the passenger seat next to the window would duck way down so nobody from the street could see him, all you could see were two dudes sitting right next to each other in the truck. That shit still makes me laugh.
The Cubs won the World Series. I know a lot of people won’t understand it, and that’s just fine, but it was one of the greatest moments of my life. We tried to put the kid to bed when the rain delay came, but she quickly came back upstairs when she heard me yelling. I think I’m gonna be able to ride this victory through my 40s.
My hope and prediction is that the Cubs will win the next 3 World Series in a row, and then go on to win the Super Bowl the following year.